When Justin Hampton goes home for Thanksgiving, he never leaves with the good leftovers. The lead bartender at Washington, DC’s Poste has six siblings, and their families have priority (“I’m single and have no kids,” he says). By the time they’ve picked over the feast, Hampton’s left with the less popular scraps. “The turkey and mashed potatoes have been pilfered, but there’s always a ton of cranberry sauce, a slice of pumpkin pie and some candied yams,” he says. Instead of sulking over his sad, stuffingless doggy bag, Hampton decided to do what any ingenuous bartender worth his shaker would do: He came up with a way to turn his leftovers into cocktails. He’ll be serving the festive, no-waste drinks at Poste before the holiday, but his recipes are also easy to replicate at home. Here, Hampton’s boozy ways to reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers.
Cranberry Sauce = Cranberry Cocktail Sauce
Arguably the least beloved Thanksgiving side (save for maybe the perfunctory salad), cranberry sauce is the easiest Thanksgiving leftover to transform into a delicious cocktail. Hampton makes the chunky sauce into an easy-to-mix syrup by simmering it down with water and blending it, then fine-straining it. For a vibrantly colorful, simple cocktail, Hampton shakes the syrup with a clean, aromatic gin packed with botanicals and cranberry liqueur for an extra-tart kick.
Cranberry Cocktail Sauce
1 1/2 ounces cranberry sauce syrup
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce cranberry liqueur